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Author Topic: The effects of passive smoking  (Read 6793 times)

Offline ichnos

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The effects of passive smoking
« on: 17/04/2007 17:59:37 »
I was wondering if anyone knew the effects of of passive smoke to someone that is exposed for around 1 hour a day for their whole lives?

cheers :D


 

Offline Bored chemist

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #1 on: 17/04/2007 19:15:13 »
Since there is smoke in the air all the time from people smoking (OK most of it is pretty dilute) where do they spend the other 23 hours.
More importantly, how much smoke are they exposed to for that one hour?
 

another_someone

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #2 on: 17/04/2007 20:27:21 »
I was wondering if anyone knew the effects of of passive smoke to someone that is exposed for around 1 hour a day for their whole lives?

cheers :D

Knew or know?

In any case, the problem arises as to whether you are talking quantitatively or qualitatively.

The effects, qualitatively, as assumed to be no different between active and passive smoking; but quantitatively, neither effect is deterministic, only probabilistic.  You can smoke 60 cigarettes a day for 60 years without any effect, or spend 5 years smoking smoking 1 cigarette a day and die of 'smoking related illness'.
 

Offline ichnos

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #3 on: 17/04/2007 23:11:04 »
OK. so if you remove human variation in terms of susceptability to disease and take the general population as a whole, and say inhale the equivalent of 1 cigarette a day (inhaling deeply and frequently of the most tar laden cigarettes)and never missing a day for 30 years. They are 50 years of age, average in every way in terms of general health/fitness for a western country. What is the likelihood of someone with this background developing COPD or lung cancer by the time of their demise?

NB. They have not been exposed to asbestos or other carcinogens any more than the average person, their eyes are blue, they enjoy playing squash and their favourite tipple is lemonade.
 

another_someone

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #4 on: 18/04/2007 00:02:45 »
OK. so if you remove human variation in terms of susceptability to disease and take the general population as a whole, and say inhale the equivalent of 1 cigarette a day (inhaling deeply and frequently of the most tar laden cigarettes)and never missing a day for 30 years. They are 50 years of age, average in every way in terms of general health/fitness for a western country. What is the likelihood of someone with this background developing COPD or lung cancer by the time of their demise?

NB. They have not been exposed to asbestos or other carcinogens any more than the average person, their eyes are blue, they enjoy playing squash and their favourite tipple is lemonade.

If you can find such a population, maybe a few hundred such individuals, all living a similar lifestyle, excepting for the difference that some smoke and some do not, and are able to study them over a 30 year period, could you let us know what the results if the study were.

Ofcourse, one question that must be asked, if these people are so identical in both genetics, and environmental influence, then how is it that some are exposed to cigarette smoke and some are not - would this not imply some difference in lifestyle that must have wider repercussions?
 

Offline ichnos

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #5 on: 18/04/2007 10:26:12 »
I am sure it is possible to calculate the mean health and fitness (e.g. mean resting heart rate etc etc) of a group of 100+ people living in the suburbs of middle England, with the one major variable being exposure to second hand smoke.

Although I am not a medical scientist, I would be very surprised if studies of this ilk had not been undertaken before despite them being pieces of long term research. Is anyone aware of such research? and what their results concluded?   [:X]
« Last Edit: 18/04/2007 10:27:50 by ichnos »
 

another_someone

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #6 on: 18/04/2007 11:00:27 »
The trouble is that as Bored Chemist has indicated, it is very difficult in the real world to control those studies well enough to know who has had how much exposure to smoke, particularly at low levels.

It is relatively easier to find people who have had massive amounts of smoke inhalation over their life, and if there is a slight error in the actual calculation of how much smoke they have inhaled, this will not be significant to the outcome.  From this, one can try and extrapolate to what the effect would be for a very much smaller amount of smoke, but one cannot ever be sure the extrapolation is accurate.

If one tries to study very low levels (but non-zero levels) of lifetime inhalation of smoke, even relatively small miscalculations in the sources of smoke the persons might have been exposed to can prove a significant error in the context of the effects you are trying to look for.  Similarly, the number of other environmental effects that might mask or mimic the effects of such small amounts of tobacco smoke also increases significantly.

The only way you can really monitor such small effects is in a lab, but you cannot ethically put humans in a lab for 30 years and monitor the effects of smoke upon them.  This means that you have to work with models - either cell cultures, or animal models - neither of which will ever be exactly the same as working with human beings.
 

Offline ichnos

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #7 on: 18/04/2007 12:18:45 »
I agree there are obvious problems this kind of study, however, I was looking for a ball park kind of answer. A few minutes of literature search drew up numerous studies that draw links between passive smoking and increased probability of smoking related illness, many of such studies having quantifiable results. This was my first find:

Repace, J.L.,and Lowrey, A.H., (1985). Environment International

This work presents a quantitative assessment of nonsmokers' risk of lung cancer from passive smoking. It is estimated that U.S. nonsmokers are exposed to from 0 to 14 mg of tobacco tar per day, and that the typical nonsmoker is exposed to 1.4 mg per day. A phenomenological exposure-response relationship is derived, yielding 5 lung cancer deaths per year per 100,000 persons exposed, per mg daily tar exposure. Aggregate exposure to ambient tobacco smoke is estimated to produce about 5000 lung cancer deaths per year in U.S. nonsmokers aged greater than or equal to 35 yr, with an average loss of life expectancy of 17 plus or minus 9 yr per fatality. The estimated risk to the most-exposed passive smokers appears to be comparable to that from pipe and cigar smoking. Mortality from passive smoking is estimated to be about two orders of magnitude higher than that estimated for carcinogens currently regulated as hazardous air pollutants under the federal Clean Air Act.

I was not able to see the methods of this study (Abstract only) and the work is old, but I noted other research based on general population studies (many on the effect of passive smoking on women), all of those that I noted appeared to follow similar conclusions.
« Last Edit: 18/04/2007 12:20:27 by ichnos »
 

Offline Tyrannosaurus

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #8 on: 19/04/2007 20:08:11 »
I was wondering if anyone knew ("I was wondering" past tense, "knew" past tense, correct grammar the subjunctive! And certainly not if someone "know") the chances of posting a reasonable question on this site and not receiving a pedantic response which states the obvious, implicit in the question, from people with the apparent comprehension of a cabbage, where the value of the content of the response is inversely proportioned to the conceit and the intellectual inferiority complex with which it expressed.

Perhaps the moderator needs a moderator. You have my sympathies Ichnos. It is bizarre that apparent scientists can deny the possibility of loosely testing a clear variable to provide a probabilistic answer for the mean.

This is clearly an intellectual battleground. Watch out Ichnos, you might learn to regress to 8th grade.

A rather bemused Physics Professor, USA.
 

another_someone

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #9 on: 19/04/2007 21:35:13 »
I was wondering if anyone knew ("I was wondering" past tense, "knew" past tense, correct grammar the subjunctive! And certainly not if someone "know") the chances of posting a reasonable question on this site and not receiving a pedantic response which states the obvious, implicit in the question, from people with the apparent comprehension of a cabbage, where the value of the content of the response is inversely proportioned to the conceit and the intellectual inferiority complex with which it expressed.

Sorry if it appeared to be mere pedanticism.

Although the more probable meaning of the question was with regrad to contemporary knowledge, there are also sometimes questions regarding historic knowledge about a matter (e.g. to understand the context in which past decisions were made), so I just wanted it to be clear that he was looking for contemporary knowledge (the later post was unambiguous in that).

The more probable interpretation of the original question was indeed that it referred to contemporary knowledge, but it is all too easy to jump to what appears to be the more probable interpretation and find that this was not the intended interpretation.

My apologies if my own response was unclear.
 

Offline Tyrannosaurus

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #10 on: 19/04/2007 22:46:50 »
Sounds plausible. I have better things to do but this post has an unpleasant air about it.

You quite obviously responded to Ichnos' post by denying that data acceptable to you exists, which did not respond to the original question. You made a negative assumption about the original post apparent through the condescending explanation of probability. If you can assume that Ichnos is ignorant and deflect the discussion onto reliability of data and a patronizing explanation of probability, why refuse to assume the probable and clear implication of contemporary knowledge in the original question. There was more probability of contemporary knowledge being sought than there was not, and you claim to have considered both possibilities. It seems the temptation to patronize overwhelmed your desire to address all possibilities in respect of intellect and scientific understanding.

How many medical studies of human beings involve the exactitude that you disdainfully stated was necessary to give a meaningful and reliable probability for the mean. Ichnos did not submit a paper to you complete with methodology for you to critique, he asked a general question regarding awareness of research. Had Ichnos requested an explanation of the reliability of data from passive smoking research then your response would have been relevant and appropriate. In the absence of such there is an unpleasant whiff of conceit and condescension. You would have been fairer to Ichnos by simply replying, "I don't know, but I have reservations as to any data that may exist for these reasons" instead of attacking the questioner dismissively and with contempt.

GY
 

Offline ichnos

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #11 on: 19/04/2007 23:04:49 »
"He" is a she.
 

another_someone

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #12 on: 19/04/2007 23:23:22 »
You quite obviously responded to Ichnos' post by denying that data acceptable to you exists, which did not respond to the original question. You made a negative assumption about the original post apparent through the condescending explanation of probability. If you can assume that Ichnos is ignorant and deflect the discussion onto reliability of data and a patronizing explanation of probability, why refuse to assume the probable and clear implication of contemporary knowledge in the original question. There was more probability of contemporary knowledge being sought than there was not, and you claim to have considered both possibilities. It seems the temptation to patronize overwhelmed your desire to address all possibilities in respect of intellect and scientific understanding.

I gave reasons why I believed it unlikely that such evidence is likely to be found.  I made no definitive answer to his (sorry, her) query, since I did not feel qualified to do so.  I left it to others, if they have better information, to come forward with it; I merely explained why I would not be at all surprised at the absence of that information.  I would be more than happy if someone could indeed come forward with the information Ichnos' seeks, and explains why their should be confidence placed in that information.

As for my assumption Ichnos' competence - we have questions from all sorts of people with a wide range of abilities, from people who do serious research in their fields, to kids of 8 years of age who are still trying to find their feet in science.  I try not to assume about anything about where a new contributer to the forum fits, but it is very difficult to phrase something that on the one hand might be incomprehensible to an 8 year old kid, and on the other hand might seem patronising to someone with 30 years specialist experience in the field.

I seek to show no disrespect Ichnos', and apologise if that is how I cam across; but as you must realise when you are reading my own response, the written word from someone whom one does not know personally can leave a lot to the interpretation of the reader, and it is often difficult to read the mind of the person writing the post.  So too, I cannot read from someone's first post everything about that person's history, capability, and intents.
 

paul.fr

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #13 on: 20/04/2007 01:14:06 »
i asked a similar question, and got some sad replies about people having friends and/or relatives who dies from cancer who never smoked. because i did not want to sound uncaring or insensative i left it alone, however. since the question has been asked again...

i believe most things you hear are anacdotal evidence for passive smoking, which is not always the best evidence. i also don't think there is any/enough concrete scientific evidence that passive smoking is as bad as it's made out to be.
 

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The effects of passive smoking
« Reply #13 on: 20/04/2007 01:14:06 »

 

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